Artima's first published book, Programming in Scala, made its bookstore debut last week at the Devoxx conference in Antwerp, Belgium, where it sold out. Twice.
It's been a long two years, filled with much toil and struggle, but at last we can hold the physical book in our hands. The paper book arrived on the west coast the day before Thanksgiving, and we captured in a photo the moment I pulled the first one out of a carton:
What a long journey to get to that moment. It all started two years ago in December 2006, when I emailed Martin Odersky, the designer of a then relatively unknown language named Scala, to set up a phone call. Frank Sommers and I had noticed a trend in our editorial work at Artima: functional programming seemed to be becoming more acceptable in mainstream programming circles. I had the idea that perhaps Artima could provide some leadership by helping people learn functional programming ideas. Or put another way, perhaps we could provide leadership by getting out in front and helping people get where they seemed to already want to go.
Our initial thought was that perhaps we could publish some articles on functional programming concepts using Scala for the examples, and this is what Frank and I asked Martin about on the call. Martin said he thought that would be a good idea, and added that he also wanted to try and create a book on Scala. I replied that we had been wanting to enter the arena of book publishing, to expand our web publishing activities to publishing with actual ink on real paper. It seemed like a good fit, so after further discussions we decided to embark on a Scala book project together.
At first Martin Odersky and Lex Spoon were the sole authors of the book, and I was the editor. But as we got deeper into the project it became apparent that it would help to have one more author, and so we added my name to the list and I started writing. All three of us poured enormous amounts of time into the project in the ensuing 18 months or so. Given that Scala is Martin's language, he was anointed the "benevolent dictator" of the book's content, but there ended up being very few issues about which we didn't ultimately all agree. Martin wrote a great deal of it, as did Lex and I. There is quite a lot from each of our personalities on those pages.
We published a first "PrePrint(TM) Edition" of the book one year ago this week, and made several updates available over time as we progressed. Through a link on each page of this PDF our early access readers gave us invaluable feedback that helped us shape Programming in Scala into an even better book.
Last week I was in Antwerp, Belgium for the Devoxx conference, where I teamed up with Ted Neward to give a half-day Scala tutorial. I also gave a conference talk entitled "The Feel of Scala," in which I illustrated what Scala programming is about by showing a lot of real code and live demos.
Right after my "The Feel of Scala" talk I was scheduled to do a book signing at Computerwinkeltje, one of the two bookstores at the conference. Given the paper books had only been completed about a week and a half earlier, and our fulfillment center had two days of holiday for Thanksgiving, our European distributor had to really rush books over the Atlantic to get them to Devoxx on time. Computerwinkeltje ended up with 40 copies.
When I arrived for the signing they informed me that Programming in Scala had been the best selling book both days so far, and as I sat there signing books it sold out. After that sales dropped of course, but luckily I had brought a carton of 10 books in my luggage. After subtracting one book to give to Stephan Janssen, who organizes Devoxx, I sold the remaining nine to Computerwinkeltje the next morning, who put them back out on the table. When I returned a couple hours later those were sold out as well. Also, I learned this morning that due to strong orders from Amazon.uk, our European distributor has already run out of stock themselves as well and wanted to reorder. So it has been an encouraging start.
I wanted to thank everyone who has bought our book, before or after its publication on paper, with a special thanks to the two smiling fellows in the lower left photo, who bought it at the book signing at Computerwinkeltje at Devoxx (and gave me permission to use the photo in my blog). We were a bit overwhelmed with all the orders at first, and as a result it took us a couple of weeks to get them all shipped. But all pre-order books are out the door, if not already at their destination then on their way. We're shipping new orders the day they come in. So if you don't have one yet, you can get one here:
I was one of the first to buy the book at Devoxx, and I am currently at about 1/3 of the book. I really must compliment the authors. Having read many books on software development, and coming from an imperative background (Java / C#), I find this book exceptionally well written: every line of code is explained, functional concept are easy to comprehend, and it's very easy to read. It is also truly a recommendation if you want to expand your general programming skills. I really enjoy reading this book, and I am looking forward to do more and more Scala programming.
> Congrats! > > I bought the online PDF version a few months back. How do > I > get the printed version? - meaning is it already included > in > that price or do I get a discount?? > > -john Hi John,
I sent out an email a few weeks back. We put coupons into the accounts of everyone who bought PrePrint edition, to thank them for their early support. Perhaps our email to you got blocked or ended up on a spam filter. Regardless, if you log into the same account you used to buy the PrePrint, and add the Paper book to your shopping cart, your coupon should magically appear in your cart. If not, send me an email at bill AT nameOfThisWebsite.com.
I having subscribing to the PDF pre prints for over a year and I recommend the book wholeheartedly. Every chapter is a gem. The book succeeds at every level from introduction to profound topics such as actors, combinatorial parsing and the Scala Swing GUI.
> Congrats! Looks like it was a lot of work, but reading the > pre-prints makes me think it payed off. > > By the way, I've sent an email a while back because my > address had changed since the purchace of the book + pdf > combo. Is it too late to ship to the current address? > We have already shipped all pre-orders, so it probably went to the old address. I'll try and find your order and contact you via email.
It's great for european readers that you can get it from Amazon in the UK. I'll get my copy soon.
Maybe the greatest gift Martin et al. has given to the developer community is not the Scala programming language itself but rather expanding the minds of many Java programmers to explore and learn new concepts from functional programming and advanced type systems. I've certainly learned a lot from using Scala, which in turn has encouraged me to further studies in other programming languages.
I was thrilled to receive my print copy last week, and I'm glad to hear it receiving early success and generating some buzz. I only wish I could annotate my PDF version instead of writing in the book when I want to make notes...
Thanks for this post about its public debut. I look forward to more "Scala mainstreaming."
> I was thrilled to receive my print copy last week, and I'm > glad to hear it receiving early success and generating > some buzz. I only wish I could annotate my PDF version > instead of writing in the book when I want to make > notes... > Is the reason you can't annotate that I prevent that in the PDF somehow? Or is the problem that I inadvertently prohibited that in the eBook license. I went back to check and I see it says "You may not modify, adapt, or translate the EBook without the prior written consent of Artima." There I was thinking of derivative works in general, but wasn't imagining the electronic equivalent of scribbling notes in the margin. Is that the issue?
Don't worry, Bill - it was not a serious complaint. The document rights disallow commenting (File -> Properties) and thus I cannot enable the Comment and Markup Toolbar in Adobe Reader 9... but that might also be because I don't have the full Adobe Acrobat product, just the Reader :-)